Grading This Week’s Latin Pop Chart: Pitbull, Alejandra Guzmán, and More Pitbull

This week, a survey of the Top 10 songs on Billboard‘s Latin Pop chart.

1. Pitbull feat. Marc Anthony, “Rain Over Me”
There’s currently an enormous Bud Light billboard with Pitbull on it on my street and it has seeped into my consciousness. I like this song. It’s stupid and flashy. A fitting end to the Summer Of Endless Eurotrash Style Technopop. Pitbull’s life’s a movie. He claims Scorsese but it’s clearly Brian DePalma. Grade: B


2. Alejandra Guzmán, Dia De Suerte
This is a big ol’ power ballad from perennial “Queen Of Rock” Alejandra Guzmán, a smokey-toned Mexican vocalist and tabloid fixture whose father was also a star in the fifties as a member of “Los Teen Tops.” My favorite Ale video is the copious black leather and fringe of 1993’s “Mala Hierba.” Don’t confuse this song for “El Dia De Suerte” by Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe. Grade: B-


3. Ricardo Arjona, “El Amor”
Ricardo Arjona is a multi-Grammy award winning Guatemalan singer. This just proves that a string-laden cornball piano power ballad is exactly the same in any language. Grade: D


4. Don Omar, “Taboo”
Puerto Rican reggaeton singer/actor Don Omar interpolates and autotunes Bolivian band’s Los Kjarkas’s signature Andean pop panpipe hit “Llorando Se Fue,” which was sampled in Kaoma’s 1989 hit “Lambada” and has made a recent global re-appearance in the chorus of J. Lo’s “On The Floor.”
Grade: C


5. Camila, “De Mi”
Camila is a Mexican soft rock group that takes the “soft” part really seriously but won’t hesitate to climax with shredding. “De Mi” has all the sensitive solos, multiple sections, and excessive orchestration of a Loggins & Messina or Seals & Crofts classic. Grade: B+


6. Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer, “Give Me Everything”
I have heard this song a billion times this summer and it still won’t go away. The opening chords and Kodak lines serve to hammer into your head that this is “I Got A Feeling 2″. Get ready, Best Of 2011 montages. We might not get tomorrow! Grade: C+


7. Reik, “Tu Mirada”
A bubbly bouncy pop thing from Mexicali’s Reik that I would much rather hear than the similar sounding but infinitely more abrasive Maroon 5 and Xtina Aguilera hit “Moves Like Jagger.” Grade: A-


8. Ricky Martin feat. Wisin and Yandel, “Frio”
Ricky Martin still makes big-budget King of Pop style videos, the likes of which were heavily rotated on TRL during the 1999 “Latin Explosion.” He is still a tawny superman in leather pants. His music videos still portray a female love interest, although she is more like an ambiguous pseudo protagonist meant to demonstrate the concept of “frio.” This song takes two and a half fucking minutes to really get into the chorus, but by the time it does it’s pretty unstoppable. Begging for a great remix. Grade: A


9. Luis Fonsi, “Respira”
Inspirational adult-contemporary style ballad from Luis Fonsi. I think Fonsi is an angel in the video but he might also be dressed as the other Fonzie. Grade: C


10. Maná, “Amor Clandestino”
This video from the Mexican pop-rock giants is great because:

  • The singer is wearing a fetish mask in an empty amphitheater.
  • It has plotlines about amor clandestino.
  • It’s a pretty good song!

Grade: B+

Filed Under: Grading the Charts, Marc Anthony, Ne-Yo, Pitbull

Photo on 2014-01-10 at 12.58 #3

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert